Special Report HD World Expo: Event to Put Focus on TV’s Challenges

Nov 27, 2006  •  Post A Comment

By Debra Kaufman

Special to TelevisionWeek

HD World Conference & Exposition will make its maiden voyage Nov. 29-30 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. The show, which features more than 25 speakers, targets the issues and challenges of high definition for today’s broadcast/cablecast end users. SATCON, a show in its fifth year that focuses on satellite and content delivery, will take place concurrently with the HD conference.

“There’s no major national event in the country that focuses on HD for primarily a broadcast, cable, media and entertainment industry,” said Michael Driscoll, VP of business development and event director for JD Events, which is presenting the conference. Mr. Driscoll pointed out that the only similar major show is the annual National Association of Broadcasters conference, which takes place in April in Las Vegas. “HD World Conference takes place six months apart and across the country, so it gives people an opportunity twice a year to explore the issues, network and see new products,” he said.

“New York is a TV capital,” he said. “That and TV advertising are what we’re focusing on. HD advertising is increasing, but has a long way to go. We’re trying to evangelize the advertising industry, and to help broadcasters and agencies to work together to increase the number of HD ads.” That topic is one of six that will be addressed in the conference’s panels.

The genesis for HD World Conference & Exposition came from the HD World Council, a consortium of broadcast and manufacturing executives that JD Events formed to determine the need for a national HD show. Council members include Darcy Antonellis, Warner Bros. executive VP of distribution and technology operations and senior VP of worldwide anti-piracy operations; Jay Adrick, VP of technology for Harris Corp.; Rich Wolf, ABC senior VP of telecommunications and network origination services; Philip Garvin, co-founder, general manager and chief operating officer of HDNet; and high-level executives from CBS, NBC, TBS, ESPN, Turner and other networks.

“It’s important for people in our industry to meet to understand the challenges,” said Mr. Wolf, describing the importance of the HD World Expo for broadcasters and others navigating the transition to HD. “We’re in a very competitive business, but at the grass-roots level of operations, standards, commonality and interoperability are things we all have to face. The more we can keep open that dialogue and communication, the better off we are.”

“With the move to HD, I have seen much more collaboration between broadcasters,” said Kevin Stolworthy, ESPN senior VP of operations and creative services. “We are all dealing with similar issues, and it helps to hear the solutions and work-arounds that others are using to address their challenges.”

Keynote addresses by Dan Rather, newly appointed global correspondent for HDNet, and David Hill, chairman and CEO of Fox Sports Television Group and president of entertainment for DirecTV, are highlights of the HD World Conference. The topic of Mr. Hill’s keynote, scheduled for Wednesday at 9:10 a.m., is “Why HD Is the Road to Financial Nirvana.”

On Thursday at 11:45 a.m., Mr. Rather will address world power relationships and describe technology’s impact on international relationships.

Six panel discussions will address major issues facing the TV industry: efficient, affordable models for single distribution; HD sports; Surround Sound for digital TV; newsgathering; technical challenges in HD content production and distribution; and advertising and HD. All panels, whose speakers are drawn almost entirely from the user community, take into account that the vast majority of the show’s attendees continue to face issues surrounding the switch from standard definition to high definition, in origination, post-production and distribution.

On Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., “HDTV: Creating Efficient and Affordable Models for Single Distribution” will address the challenges that stations are encountering in growing their HD viewership while still servicing the majority SD audiences. Moderated by Clyde Smith, Turner Broadcasting executive VP of engineering, the panel will include Ms. Antonellis; Richard Friedel, executive VP of Fox Networks operations and engineering; and Glenn Reitmeier, NBC Universal VP of technology standards, policy and strategy.

“HD Sports From the Field3/4Origination, Production, Editing, Broadcast Center Studio Integration and Transmission,” scheduled for Wednesday at 2:30 p.m., targets origination, production, editing, integration and transmission for HD and SD, looking at options with terrestrial and satellite backhaul and connectivity, and challenges posed by international broadcasts to countries with different standards.

Moderated by Mr. Adrick, the panel will include Mr. Stolworthy; Kenneth Aagaard, senior VP of sports operations, engineering and production services for CBS Sports; David Mazza, senior VP of engineering for NBC Olympics; and Tom Sahara, senior director of Turner Sports IT and remote operations.

“Real World Challenges of Delivering Surround Sound for Digital Television,” on tap Wednesday at 4 p.m. and moderated by technology consultant Roger Charlesworth, addresses the tremendous number of audio issues posed by the transition to high definition, including how to adapt legacy two-channel programming into a 5.1-channel environment. Panelists are Tim Carroll, president of Linear Acoustic; Rocky Graham, director of broadcast products from Dolby Laboratories; Jim Starzynski, principal engineer for NBC Advanced Technology; Emory Strilkauskas, manager of transmission contribution at ESPN; and Robin Thomas, group director of engineering for ABC Broadcast Operations and Engineering.

Scheduled for Thursday at 10:30 a.m., “Newsgathering-The Cost Complexity Multiplier” will examine the evolution of news into high definition. Moderated by Robert Seidel, VP of advanced technology and engineering for CBS, the panel will feature David Converse, VP of operations and director of engineering for ABC-owned stations; Jeff Johnson, VP of technology for Gannett Broadcasting; and Peter Sockett, director of engineering at WRAL-TV and WILM-TV.

At 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Mr. Wolf will moderate “Technical Challenges in HD Content Production and Distribution” with panelists Dominic Ambrosio, VP of studio operations for HBO; Ed Delaney, YES Network’s VP of operations; Mark Narveson, senior director of live production systems for Grass Valley; and Bill Shanahan, VP of transmission operations at ESPN.

The final panel, slated for Thursday at 4 p.m., focuses on why the majority of commercials are still not produced and distributed in HD. “Advertising and HD-The Advertisers’ Responsibility” will feature Carole Gall, senior partner and director of broadcast production for JWT; Karl Meisenbach, director of advertising at HDNet; Neil Nguyen, executive VP of sales & operations for DG FastChannel; David Perry, director of broadcast operations at Saatchi & Saatchi; and Derek Smith, senior VP for Vyvx. The panel will be moderated by Beth Snyder Bulik, technology reporter for Advertising Age.

HD World will also feature an exhibition hall with 60 manufacturers. Mr. Driscoll expects about 2,000 attendees.